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-   -   Relationships and weight issues (x-posted in parents as partners) (http://www.mothering.com/forum/12-personal-growth/1148282-relationships-weight-issues-x-posted-parents-partners.html)

remijo 10-12-2009 11:36 AM

Hmmm, I had no idea where to post this and now I have no idea where to start. First of all, a little history. I am a recovered bulimic with some lingering eating disordered thinking/behaviors. I was sexually abused by an obese brother for about six years as a child which has a lot to do with my eating disorders and problems with body image. For the last three years I have been carrying about ten extra pounds, I don't believe there is more than a month that goes by where I am not trying some new diet and never a day goes by when I don't think about my weight.

I recently posted a thread in Parents as Partners about the fact that my DH hasn't touched me intimately since I started showing (about three months ago). I finally pinned him down and got him to talk about it and he admitted to me that it really has nothing to do with baby and everything to do with my weight. He just isn't sexually attracted to me because I have put on weight with the baby. He still says I'm beautiful but that he can't even think about being attracted to me. We still cuddle and sometimes kiss, but it is always just a peck. So I asked him outright if I didn't lose the baby weight if our marriage would be in trouble. He basically said yes, in a loving way anyway. Talk about stress and pressure for someone who already has weight issues. (by the way, I should mention that DH is one of those guys that can't not eat healthy. He hates to eat food that is bad for him and cannot go more than a day without working out, it comes naturally for him - he is just a very physical and healthy guy. He wants me to feel the same way about my body and look at food as fuel and not an emotional crutch but I wasn't raised that way.)

DH is leaving a month after the baby is born to start boot camp. He will be half a country away for about nine to ten months. I feel like I have that long to lose the weight I have gained (so far -about 25 pounds but I still have a whole trimester to go) or our marriage will be in jeapordy and I will be miserable everytime he looks at me because I will be thinking about how fat I am and not focusing on our new baby. I can't afford counseling right now (although I am wondering if I can get something free through medicaid since I am pregnant?), I just mainly wanted some advice. Does anyone else have a partner that pushes them (nicely, he's never mean about it) to be a certain weight? How do you deal with it? How can I be happy knowing that my DH doesn't find me attractive when I am making his baby and nursing his baby? I feel like an ugly, fat tag along surrogate breeder.

bebebradford 10-12-2009 12:26 PM

Oh honey..
I wish I could offer some advice, but I'm at a loss. I couldn't stay with a man that made me feel that way. Sex shouldn't just be about lust.. it should be because you love someone so much. I'm not saying your DH is a bad person.. he was being honest.. but I don't know if being with a man like that is good for YOUR issues. YKWIM? Sounds like to me you're going to have to stay in tip top shape for the rest of your life to please this man. What if you got sick and couldn't do it, etc?

sapphire_chan 10-12-2009 01:47 PM

Your dh, assuming he isn't just a UAV, might be seeing your weight gain as coming from a lack of care for yourself. He needs a reality check about pregnancy weight gain in generally and especially for second babies.

nextcommercial 10-12-2009 08:23 PM

My husband has some issues with overweight women too. I also feel pressured to stay thin. Our kids are grown or in high school now, so it's not baby weight, it's just age weight.

He makes comments about other women that sometimes makes me uncomfortable, since some of those women are my friends, and I know how THEY feel about their weight.

I try to stay within a healthy weight, for me. Not for him. But, he is definately a motivation, because I couldn't stand to know what he is thinking when he looks at me, or when I eat that second helping, or skip the gym for more than a week.

My suggestion is, that if you WANT to lose the weight, please make sure it's for you. Find a Healthy motivation, and a healthy way to lose it. He can enjoy the benefits, but don't let it be about him. I'm glad he's not being a jerk to you. It sounds like he's honest, but sensitive. I like the honesty.

Weight issues are very painful. (yes, I spent ten years being obese) and it makes people angry when we hear that someone isn't attracted to us when we are overweight. But, it's reality. We can't pretend it doesn't happen.

Violet2 10-12-2009 09:27 PM

Wow. I don't know what to say. I do not think your DH is being appropriate. He can be loving and gentle all he wants, it is still highly inappropriate.

So if you get sick and gain weight from medication or illness, is he outta there? I mean, how deep does the weight bias go? Because neither of you are going to look the same as you do today as you age.

Also, sleep deprivation can make weight loss difficult the first year and nursing can really rev up your appetite. I would not count on a lot of weight control for the first year.

Marriage so much more than your weight or how you look. It's being there when it counts because you love someone for more than just their body. Marriages based on image alone do not last ime.

I agree with others who have suggested your DH has some body image issues and skewed perceptions about what is healthy.

You are growing a human being. While he's out running and doing push-ups whatever... you are growing someone's brain, lungs, heart. That is a much harder workout than anything he is doing. The fact he can't recognize that is disappointing.

Good luck momma. I hope things are better than they appear on this thread and that you have a long happy marriage full of joy and deep, abiding love.

V

Dandelionkid 10-13-2009 12:39 AM

What an awful thing for him to say (that he would want to leave you if you were overweight) I second a previous poster that it is HIM that has the weight issue- not you. You are at a very healthy weight gain for the stage you are at- you don't need to be worrying about putting on the pounds right now.

Sailor 10-13-2009 01:02 AM

Wow ... how terrible. I second the idea that it seems as if your dh has body image and weight perception issues.

My dp is a lot like your dh in that he exercises daily, and always eats 100% healthy. He feels no need for sugar, junk, etc. He just eats well, and exercies. He's really into cycling, and does races for that, as well as traning daily.

When he met me, I was 80 pounds over my high school weight. Bad time in my life. I swent from 118 pounds to 200 in a year. All emotional eating, all due to depression.

My dp was definitely a huge motivation to get into shape. But, it was NEVER because I thought he would move on or leave me if I didn't lose it. I was simply inspired by his healthy lifestyle and healthy attitude about eating. I wanted to be healthy and in shape for me.

I have to say, if my dp told me our relationship would be in jeopardy if I gained weight ... I'd ask him to go to counseling with me. Maybe attend some weight/body image workshops.

It's OK to have a preference for thin women. Just like it's OK to have a preference for blonds or red heads. It's NOT ok to tell one's partner/wife that the relationship will be in trouble if they don't fit into that preference.

There is something seriously wrong in one's priorities in terms of relationships if the thing to cause trouble is another partner's weight gain.

Being 10 pounds overweight is negligible. Gaining weight while pregnant is 100% normal and healthy. It's not you that needs to change this aspect of yourself. It's your dh who needs to work through his weight gain issues.

The salvation of your marriage is NOT all on your shoulders. He plays a part too. And, IMO, it's HIS part that needs some fixing and therapy.

Roxswood 10-13-2009 03:37 AM

I agree, I'm all for honesty in relationships, and that its ok to tell your partner that you find them more attractive when they are not overweight. But to say your relationship will be in trouble because of it or to be making you worried about it when you are pregnant is harsh and worrying.

I spent years overweight too, and my husband finally let me know (he was really gentle and really didn't want to tell me) that he wasn't as visually attracted to me as he could be, but for all those years despite that he was my best friend and I always knew he would never leave me, just that he could be happier iyswim. There wasn't any pressure, just a truly gentle statement of his feelings. He also continued to compliment me and to be affectionate and loving in and out of bed.

I don't know how someone is supposed to develop a healthy mind and body without feeling safe and supported in their marriage. It was my husbands attention and love that motivated me to lose all the weight, not him criticising. And he was super happy once I was at a healthy weight for me, not super thin to meet some ideal of his. If you are at a healthy weight and he wants you to lose more then thats a big red flag to me. If he's not supportive while you are pregnant and trusting that you are doing what you need to do to stay healthy and happy then thats a red flag too. They don't know what its like to deal with pregnancy hunger and sickness and all the food problems that can come about from that.

jacie87 10-13-2009 10:15 AM

I'm sorry to hear all this...your dh needs to be way more understanding. My dh pushes me to be a certain weight too and it is so frustrating. He made a comment a few days ago asking "are you looking forward to being your mom's size?" because he noticed my thighs are a little bigger. I am only 125 pounds! I have only gained 10 pounds so far this pregnancy and am in my 3rd trimester. He has been making comments about my weight for over a year now even before I was pregnant when I was only 115 pounds and I just don't know how to please him in that area. It's extra annoying because he actually is not very fit himself and it seems to me like a huge double standard. I wish I knew something to tell you to help the situation, but I really don't.

accountclosed3 10-13-2009 01:33 PM

when my husband foists his weiht issues onto me, i call him out. first, i tell him that it's inappropriate. second, i tell him that i'm (am whatever i am--happy, frustrated, working on it, taking a break from thinking abut it or whatever) about it. third, i tell him that if HE has an issue with it then HE needs to look at HIS issue and leave me out of it--no discussion, no harassing, nothing.

prejudice against weight and/or overweight and obese people is as ugly a prejudice as racism, sexism, or any other you can think of. it is a prejudice, and it is the one who is prejudice who has the issue, not the person who is the object of the prejudice.

Soul-O 10-13-2009 02:04 PM



I wanted to mention that going to BCT may change your DH's outlook on food and eating for good. While in BCT, he will have a grand total of 3-5 minutes to complete each meal, will have zero control over what he is served, and will need to just stuff it down because he needs the calories. The food will be nutritionally complete, but questionable taste-wise. He may not be happy about losing control over the food, but BCT is all about giving control away and allowing the Army (or Marines, or Navy etc.) to mold and reshape you into the person you need to be to thrive in the armed forces.

Also, once your DH graduates BCT, you should be eligible for military health benefits, which include counseling that is 100% covered by insurance. Check with www.tricare.osd.mil for more information. Couples counseling is also included, and cannot be held against your DH in matters of promotion or career advancement.

Hope this info helps. I'm sorry that you are going through this stress during what is supposed to be a beautiful time in your life.

Much love,

LROM 10-13-2009 04:55 PM

Dear OP I truly TRULY KNOW how you are feeling. I have a great DP who is a wonderful father, but he was up front with me before we even got pregnant that his main concern (aside from finances) was what my body would look like after pregnancy.

Our babe is now almost a year old and we haven't had sex since I was 5 months pregnant! DH doesn't look at me in disgust or cringe or anything, but he continues to push me to exercise more and lose the weight I still have.

My friends are all horrified, they think DH is awful and mean and abusive and that I deserve better. Great, I think I deserve better too! But the reality is he shows up wonderfully in so many other ways and I have a baby now, I am not about to just walk out the door because he wants me to be thinner.

I see so many parallels with your situation, but the main thing I've come to believe is this: I have to focus on what I want for MYSELF, what makes me feel whole and healthy and beautiful. If any of that coincides with what DH wants me to do, great, we'll both be better off. But for instance DH wants me to jog, I've got knee issues, and I told him before we had the baby "Jogging is NOT going to happen. It hurts my knees and I'll be able to do even less!"

Also I work full time, and whenever DH gets on me about exercise I recap how I spent every waking minute the last week and then point out how much free time he has when I'm at work and the baby's at daycare and he's off of work, and then I ask "So when do you think I had time to exercise?"

He never has an answer.

But back to what I'm doing about it, I have honestly made peace with myself that a) I have to do what makes me happy and feel good about myself. Only if I feel good about myself can I be the best mom and the best wife I can be. Feeling good about myself right now means making sure I'm working as much as I can, being a good mommy, and eating better and getting SOME exercise. But I am NOT prioritizing exercise over sleep or spending time with the baby or my job, and in the end if that's what makes DH not want to be with me, I'll have to accept that. It would suck (understatement of the year!), but there will be nothing I can do about it.

BUT... I really believe - and so far it's true except for sex - that the better I feel about myself, the more attractive I am to DH. He even talks about us having another kid which, unless he's got some backup plan, would eventually involve us having sex again! In the meantime, I let him know I'm listening and I do want him to be happy with me, but I also let him know he's making me feel worse about myself which makes me less able to make positive changes, and he's got to recognize how much I'm juggling right now.

And that's it, that's how I'm handling it.

Figure out what you most want to work on/do for YOU. Tell your hubby you love him, and that you want him to be attracted to you, but that the pressure almost has the opposite effect. And then try your best to make peace with the fact that you can only do what you can do, and heaven forbid he come back from boot camp and be really unhappy, but if he does, somehow someway you'll be ok in the end. It will just suck for a long while while you work it all out.

At least that's the worst case scenario!

nextcommercial 10-13-2009 06:26 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by LROM View Post
BUT... I really believe - and so far it's true except for sex - that the better I feel about myself, the more attractive I am to DH.
That is so true! You are handling it so much better than most women would. LOL. I'd be all resentful and not fun to be around.

We can't do it all.

I keep trying to think of something that would be a deal breaker about my husband. (physical attraction) I definately have my preferences. But, I don't think I would even consider leaving him if he suddenly changed his looks. I might not follow him around like a puppy anymore. But, id never even dream of letting it causing a problem in our relationship.

Sailor 10-13-2009 07:31 PM

To be honest ... some of these situations sound really scary to me! I mean, no offense to anyone, but having a person basically push another to lose weight and withhold intimacy until they reach that weight is or tell them that their relationship will be in trouble if they gain weight is, at best, a form of control, and, at worst, a form of emotional blackmail/abuse.

My dp is a wonderful man, and he could have a gazillion wonderful characteristics ... but, if he put me under that type of pressure, he'd be seeing divorce papers. Assuming we had exhausted all other options, i.e. him going into therapy for his weight perception issues. I mean, I could not deal with that type of pressure! Plus, how would this affect a child? Seeing the dad pressure the mom to be thin? If I have a daughter, I would not want her to think she needed to be a certain weight.

Honestly, this is in no way, shape or form appropriate in a relationship. I urge those of you who have such partners to suggest some form of therapy - especially the kind that focuses on weight perception issues.

To me, this seems like a pretty serious issue all around.

remijo 10-13-2009 08:06 PM

Thank you for all the great responses. I just want to say that DH does express a lot of chagrin for feeling the way he does and even stated that he feels even more terrible because its because of him that I am this way (gaining weight) and then he has to go and feel this way. I love him for his honesty. I have my preferences too, it would be hard for me to date or marry a large man due to my past abuse issues so it is really hard for me to be hypocritical about this.

I also have issues because my ED thinking states that my DH's preference for thin women is a great motivator, almost as if I had a partner who was supportive of me at any weight I would probably be fatter and thus be miserable. I know I need to lose weight for me but its hard battling years of feeling a need to be thin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailor View Post
Plus, how would this affect a child? Seeing the dad pressure the mom to be thin? If I have a daughter, I would not want her to think she needed to be a certain weight.
DH knows his behavior is not good, he expressed relief to me that he was going to be gone while I was working on losing the weight because he knows that his form of motivation is not always good for me. We are having a daughter and this makes it even more crucial for me to lose the weight I think and see a counselor while he is away after the baby is born because its so important to me that my daughter does not inherit my ED traits and thinking. However, I know that if I am over the weight I want to be at, I'll **** be in diet mentality and therefore will exhibit behaviors that she can model. It is more of a problem with me than my DH I am convinced. He may have his issues but I think he is really just being honest, I know I would be even more upset with myself if I couldn't lose the weight. I just would like to know that I had loving support throughout the journey and not only when I reach my goal weight.

Violet2 10-13-2009 09:32 PM

Momma, based on your update there is a lot more going on here than just your DH's weight issues.

Your child could be at risk of picking up your ED issues regardless of how much or how little you weigh. Being a certain weight does not 'fix' the ED or make it invisible even if you think it is.

I would encourage you to seek counseling once you are on the military insurance per a pp and try and sort all this out in the healthiest way possible.



V

sunnmama 10-14-2009 08:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by remijo View Post
It is more of a problem with me than my DH I am convinced. He may have his issues but I think he is really just being honest, I know I would be even more upset with myself if I couldn't lose the weight. I just would like to know that I had loving support throughout the journey and not only when I reach my goal weight.
Your issues (ED thinking) is hyperfocus/disordered thinking about your own weight. (I've had an ED. I'm familiar with the mindset).

Your partner's issue is hyperfocus/disordered thinking about your weight. That would be bad enough if you were confident in your body and could take him to task ("Keep your issues off my body, buster.") But the combo of person with eating disordered thinking partnered with person obsessed with partner's weight is bad, bad, bad. It doesn't really matter whose portion is bigger, because the sum is greater than its parts.

He may be "just being honest", but his honestly is not helpful or kind. On the contrary, it is potentially very damaging, considering your ED. It is great that you plan to go to therapy to address your disordered thinking about food and weight, but you will be fighting an uphill battle as long as he continues to project his issues onto you.

eta....I'll admit, I really don't get the "can't be intimate with my partner when not thin enough" thing. I mean, yes, I get that some people are more visual than others, and people often have a "type" they find very attractive. But, at some point, when you nuzzle in for a hug, doesn't touch and smell take over? Good company, soft skin, the smell of the person you love, inspiring touches....how does the "imperfect" visual trump all of that? I does seem willfully manipulative to me

Liquesce 10-14-2009 03:43 PM

I would actually seriously think about joint counseling with a therapist who specializes in or at least understands eating disorder issues. To be honest it doesn't sound like either of you really understand how unhealthy all of this sounds.

goldingoddess 10-18-2009 01:30 AM

Please, please, please , please, please get your husband some help. He is telling you this while you are pregnant? That is a no go. Your body and your baby need extra weight to be HEALTHY. He needs to know that he is putting you and your unborn baby's health in jeopardy by telling you to lose weight.

Really this is so messed up. It is not normal. Sorry to PP who has not had sex since 5 months pregnant, but that is not normal either and your marriage needs help. Just delivering my honest opinion.

Please think of you and your baby's needs right now, not your UAV husband.

Kirsten 10-18-2009 01:44 AM

I'm not sure what helpful advice I can give. LROM and the OP, your spouses are making mine look like husband of the year - and we've been on the rocks for five years.

Just totally, unbelievably disrespectful. NOT something a loving spouse would do - no matter how "gently" he said it. I wouldn't continue without counseling. I don't know how it would be possible to feel the same way about a man who claimed to love me but obviously didn't. Breaks my heart for you both.

LROM 10-19-2009 05:48 PM

I really appreciate the sympathy and concern expressed here. I can't speak for OP but I can say that while I understand how awful my DHs words sound, there is a level of simple reality that I feel like I have to deal with here. My DH is a lot younger than me, very attractive, and is in a business where women tend to swoon and stop by his workplace to leave cookies and hams etc (not for him in particular, but for all the guys (and few ladies) who work there). And, a LOT of the guys he works with cheat on their SOs. One guy even went to a wedding without his wife of a year, met another woman, and went home after the wedding and kicked his wife out and is now married to the chick from the wedding!

We also live in an area where the single male to single female ratio is SO SO off, healthy, marginally sane, barely employed (and unemployed) men are still so strongly sought after. I've seen how women surround him and now that we have a baby, you should see the sharks circle in the water when they think he's alone.

Now trust me, I know that just because all this happens around him and us, doesn't justify if he's unhealthy for me to be in a relationship with. But his honesty has come along with SHOWING - not just saying, but SHOWING that he is still committed to our relationship.

I could go into many details on how his actions show that, but the main one is that when I tell him that I want him to be honest, but saying things certain ways feels abusive, he doesn't say those things that way.

If he's not attracted to me since having the baby in terms of sex, I don't know what to do about that but I hardly think that makes hima bad person. I've been in past relationships with "really great guys" who I really wished I was attracted to, but in the end I wasn't and had to let them go because living a lie isn't an option.

My DH and I have been through a LOT. A LOT! And while this is very hard and I don't like that he feels this way, I'm much happier it's onthe table and we're both dealing with it, than that he not say anything and cheat or just leave me.

He's lucky to have me because I'm a great catch. But he's also a great catch, and I think overall we make a great couple, and this too shall pass! Also, he still talks about maybe wanting another child, which unless h e's got connections with the Man Upstairs, he'd need to have sex with me to do, so maybe there's still hope....

[ETA] I also have to say I've had a lot of bad feelings, hurt and anger about how he feels about my pregnancy and post pregnancy body, and I don't want to make it sound like it's easy. But we're currently dealing with some stuff he does that makes me crazy and it's a negotiation. And we're still trying to figure it out because at the root of it, we've both gone through a lot to stay in this relationship when each of us could have left, and we're trying to make it work. But I've got some non-negotiables and have broken up before when it felt like we hit them, but we worked it out and those specific things have not been issues again (at least not as big as they were). He's someone who listens (eventually!) and learns (eventually), and that is very valuable.

remijo 10-20-2009 11:27 AM

I, too, do not blame DH for his honest preference. He can't help it that he feels that way, I just wish I didn't react so negatively to his honesty. I am starting counseling tomorrow though (thank you medicaid) to work through all this.

Labbemama 10-24-2009 02:36 PM

Just wanted to offer hugs.
I had a partner who told me I was too fat to be intimate with, not that he was in HIS basic training form the way I married him either.

Some men do find it difficult to be with a pg. woman. Not that it's ok to make any of those comments that he made.

And if he's in the military which emphasises fitness and has weight limits he may be more prone to that mindnset than other ppl.

I had anorexia and bulimia as a teen and I still struggle with body image issues, I think the thing that helped me when I was pregnant was to focus on the amazing process of pregnancy and breastfeeding and the creation of a beautiful new little person. It puts the physical imperfections in check for me. But it took a lot of therapy and actually getting pregnant and HAVING to eat nutritiously in a co-dependent mindset for my dd that got me out of my restrict-purge cycle. It's messed up, but's it's what saved me.

The other thing I did was Tell myself the messages that you would want the child you are carrying to hear about his or her body. Like as I saw my stomach balloon-"Baby, you are getting big and strong" Rather than "OMG look at that basketball with red stripes."

lalaland42 10-24-2009 06:09 PM



I think that joint counseling would be a good idea too. It is so inappropriate to withdraw physical support during pregnancy because you gain a few pounds. And what happens if your DD has asthma or some other breathing issue and needs to take steroids as a teenager? Will your DH then "lovingly" tell her she needs to lose a few pounds to attract a boy?

Pregnancy is hard enough without having the person you love stomp on you for your body changes. Guess what, bodies change as you age too. He seems to have bought into that whole, "you get a 20 year old wife for the rest of your life" thing that the media has going on. Ridiculous.

Labbemama 10-27-2009 01:56 PM

LOL, about your comment about getting a 20 year old wife for the rest of your life.

I sure did not sign on for a 400 lb. Wilford Brimley And he hasn't even had four babies.

I agree get counseling for yourself and for you guys as a couple if he will go. He may have some insecurities of his own.


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